Monday, September 12, 2016

Places to visit in TaiChung / 台中景点

Can't believe that we have the chance to start travelling around Taiwan, somewhere other than Taipei in the 1st week that we are here! Thanks to my buddy Yu-Cheng, we got to visit his house at Taichung (台中)!

First time sitting a bus from Taipei Main Station (台北车站) to Chaoma (朝马), which is a slightly outskirt area in TaiChung. Their buses are equipped with TV screens and USB charging ports for us to charge our phones. There's even a toilet in the bus! I am impressed!

Taichung Wang Gao Liao Lookout Point (台中望高寮)

This lookout point right behind my buddy's house, so that was our first stop. We got to see the whole of TaiChung from up here.

It's a really nice place to just chill and hangout. Or paktor! haha. 

Best of all? Entrance fee : F.O.C!

Spotted these 3 cute dogs that look like triplets with their owner. Dogs in Taiwan are so well behaved. Even stray ones!

Gaomei Wetlands (高美湿地)

The next day, the first place we went was 高美湿地. Gaomei Wetlands is a piece of land mixed with sand and soil textures. 

There have been many windmills that were destroyed by a typhoon.  
With Yu-Cheng
Many crabs and mud skippers

There's like a walkway for you to walk and at the end of it you can take your shoes off and experience the wetlands itself! No need to be too worried about your shoes, Taiwan is pretty safe. haha. But wearing slippers will be better. 

If we have the chance to go again I think I will opt to go during the evening to catch the sunset!

Entrance fee: F.O.C!

Tunghai University - Luce Memorial Chapel (东海大学)

The infamous chapel located in Tunghai University. Many people just come and take pics of this quirky looking building. Apparently it still functions! Doubt a lot of people can fit in it though as it's quite small.

Taichung Rainbow Village (台中 彩虹眷村)

Story of this village: The Taiwanese government started tearing down veteran villages one by one. Then one of the last village resident, Mr Huang, decided to paint the village with really bright colours and filled it with animals, cartoons...etc. When it was discovered, students from a university nearby and other locals started to protest the gov's actions. Which led to this village being preserved and is now an attraction.

Okay to be honest I expected this place to be really big, turns out to be just a quaint little village. haha. Nonetheless, it's still very very pretty. Really in awe at how much work and effort this must have took!

Entrance fee? FOC again! Unbelievable right!?

Fengjia Night Market (逢甲夜市)

Vistited this night market 2 years ago when I was here. It's the biggest night market in Taiwan. We were there on a Saturday night, which means super super super crowded! There's a lot of really nice boutiques selling nice and affordable clothes, but too bad didn't have much energy after a whole day of travelling. 

Anyway, we had the very famous 明伦蛋饼, which is something like roti telur in my opinion. haha. Also had 刀割羊肉面 (lamb with noodles) and 酸辣汤 (sour + spicy soup). The noodles were delicious, the soup needed some getting used to, but it tastes good too after you're used to it. The texture is like shark fin's soup, and the vinegar taste is quite strong.

Bonus part of our trip was getting to see the night view of the place where the rich stays in Taichung. It's located right opposite the National Taichung Theater.

Overall Taichung was great! Would suggest spacing out the visits to the attractions in 2 days. This is so that you can save the night market for another day, instead of doing everything in one. We used the bus to travel in Taichung. Its really cheap and can even be free! Because you don't have to pay if you travel within 6km in Taichung, which is pretty much everywhere we went. Also, you may notice that all the attractions DO NOT have any entrance fee, which is awesome!

Hope to go back there some day, especially Fengjia Night Market for some shopping! :D

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Differences between Taiwan & Malaysia (Part 1)

Hello from Taiwan! I have been in Taiwan for more than a week now and am here on a student exchange program for 1 semester.

With my parents at the airport <3

Came here with my bf, KS and our friend Mike. We're all from the same uni and course back home. Came here to the same uni and course as well. haha. There's actually 4 of us, Lisa who is also from UM but a different course. We only got to know her through this program.

This is the university I am at now which is National ChengChi University (NCCU), located at the Southern part of Taipei, Taiwan. 

I used to think Taiwan wasn't THAT different from Malaysia. I mean the population is majority Chinese, we don't have a time know that kind of really obvious differences. But there are actually many things that are different here that I have noticed so far.

1. Daylight / Sunset

Daylight for Taiwan is like 6am. Literally the sun is fully up by 6.30am whereas it's still quite dark in Malaysia at this time. Then when 6pm comes the sun is already setting and it will be pitch black by 7pm.

2. Public transportation

They have very good and systematic public transportation. So far we have rode buses and the MRT. It rarely comes late, even if it does it's probably only a 5 mins difference, and not like some half an hour delay *shifts eyes to our KTM* Also, everyone lines up properly to get on the public transportation.

This Easy Card is used to pay for the public transportation. Very essential for us!

3. Recycling

Taiwan places a lot of emphasis on recycling. It's so hard to find a dustbin to throw trash by the road but there are tons of recycling bins everywhere. Good for the environment, but troublesome when all you need is a dustbin to throw non-recyclable rubbish because we have to wait for the garbage truck to come.

The recycling bins allocated in my dorm

4. Food portion

I think this is something I am struggling most at the moment. Their food portion is HUGE. I always thought Asians generally have about the same sized food portions, but apparently not. In Taiwan, a meal is like fit for 2 back in Malaysia. Initially thought it was my own problem because I am a pretty small eater, but the guys also mentioned that their portion is really really filling. It's frustrating when I can barely finish a meal but I know if I eat anymore I may throw up.

This was ordered by KS and I at GongGuan Night Market. Super huge portion!

5. The toilets

They do not have pipes in their toilets (which gets me thinking what if one day the flush is not working?! what happens then!? lol), and most of them are those squat ones. Also not allowed to throw any tissue in the toilet bowl. All goes to the rubbish bin allocated in the toilet.

6. Night markets replacing Shopping malls

In Taiwan they are mostly famous for their night markets. So far I've been to XiMenDing Night Market (西门町), Shilin Night Market (士林夜市), GongGuan Night Market (公馆夜市) and FengJia Night Market (逢甲夜市). Seems like shopping malls are quite uncommon and even if they do have them it's mostly quite atas like KLCC. According to my buddy who is a local here, seems like mid-range shopping malls like Mid Valley, 1Utama, DP...etc are not as common if compared to Malaysia. Instead they have night markets which is like a 5 times better version of a pasar malam.

7. Humidity

The weather here currently is still Summer. Still hot at 30+ degrees celcius. But in Malaysia once we step out of the door we will be drenched in sweat. But here, even though you can be walking under the hot sun for 15 mins, you will hardly break out into a pool of sweat. 15 mins under the sun here is like 1 min under the sun in Malaysia. Also they have pretty cooling winds from time to time, which helps a lot.

So far this is what I have gathered. There are many others that I am slowly discovering, hence this is only Part 1. Will update more as the list goes on!

I have also created a new label on my blog called M ♥ Taiwan Exchange, future posts regarding my life in Taiwan will be listed here :D or you can checkout the hashtag #MandyTaiwanExchange on Instagram for pictures only :D

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